(Maximus Mischief, pictured winning the G2 Remsen Stakes last December, is currently “on hold” after a rather dull work on Sunday / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
|Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Last Race||Next Race||Comments|
|1||Game Winner||Bob Baffert||Joel Rosario||1st in Breeders’Cup Juvenile||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Undefeated 2YO Champ|
|2||War of Will||Mark Casse||Tyler Gaffalione||1st in the G2 Risen Star||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||Wow. Again. Next.|
|3||Improbable||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||1st in Cash Call Futurity||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Yet To Be Tested|
|4||Instagrand||Jerry Hollendorfer||Drayden Van Dyke||1st in Best Pal Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Spectacular Until Shelved|
|5||Dream Maker||Mark Casse||Florent Geroux||1st in FG Allowance||G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3/9/19||Looked Great at FG This Week|
|6||Roadster||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith||2nd in Del Mar Futurity||SA Allowance on 3/1/19||Mike Smith to Ride|
|7||Mucho Gusto||Bob Baffert||Joe Talamo||1st in G3 Robert B. Lewis||Undecided||Coming On Strong|
|8||Gunmetal Gray||Jerry Hollendorfer||Mike Smith||2nd in Robert B. Lewis Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Has the guts & metal|
|9||Country House||Bill Mott||Luis Saez||2nd in the G2 Risen Star||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||Green, but Talented|
|10||Galilean||Jerry Hollendorfer||Flavien Pratt||1st in California Cup||Undecided||Wow Time in Cal Cup|
|11||Bourbon War||Mark Hennig||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||1st in GP Allowance||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||My Tout This Week|
|12||Long Range Toddy||Steve Asmussen||Richard Eramia||3rd in G3 Southwest Stakes||G2 Rebel Stakes on 3/16/19||Better Than Looked|
|13||Sparky Ville||Jeff Bonde||Joel Rosario||1st in G2 San Vicente Stakes||G2 San Felipe Stakes on 3/9/19||Getting Better|
|14||Signalman||Ken McPeek||Brian Hernandez||1st in KY Jockey Club Stakes||Fountain of Youth or Tampa Bay Derby?||Trainer Says He Will Be Ready|
|15||Well Defined||Kathleen O’Connell||Pablo Morales||1st in Sam F. Davis Stakes||G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3/9/19||Speedy Type|
|16||Harvey Wallbanger||Ken McPeek||Brian Hernandez||1st in G2 Holy Bull Stakes||G2 Florida Derby||Gets a Break Before Next Now|
|17||Hidden Scroll||Bill Mott||Joel Rosario||1st in GP MSW||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Nice Work on 2-24 at Payson|
|18||Standard Deviation||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz||2nd in GP Allowance||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Slow Work on 2/23 at PM?|
|19||Mihos||James Jerkens||John Velazquez||5th in G2 Holy Bull Stakes||G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on 3/2/19||Another Shot|
|20||Knicks Go||Ben Colebrook||Albin Jimenez||5th in G3 Sam F.Davis Stakes||G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3/9/19||What Happened?|
|1||Anothertwistafate||Blaine D. Wright||Juan Hernandez||1st in El Camino Real Derby||Undecided||Won by 7. Son of Scat Daddy|
|2||Roiland||Tom Amoss||James Graham||3rd in the G2 Risen Star||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||If Breaks Better? Watch Out|
|3||Our Braintrust||Mark Casse||Jose Lezcano||3rd in G3 Withers Stakes||G2 Rebel Stakes on 3/16/19||Worked at Casse TC on 2-23|
|4||Tax||Danny Gargan||Junior Alvarado||1st in G3 Withers Stakes||Wood Memorial on 4/6/19||Guts|
|5||Dessman||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza||2nd in G2 San Vicente Stakes||SA Allowance on 3/1/19||Victor Espinoza Rides|
|6||Global Campaign||Stanley Hough||Luis Saez||1st in GP Allowance||G2 Fountain of Youth on 3/2/19||Trainer Says Ready, Aim, …|
|7||Mr. Money||W. Bret Calhoun||Gabriel Saez||7th in G2 Risen Star Stakes||G2 Louisiana Derby on 3/23/19||Dull. Maybe Needed a Race?|
|8||Kingly||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||2nd in El Camino Real Derby||Undecided||Beaten 7 lengths. Ouch|
|9||Aquadini||Dallas Stewart||Corey Lanerie||1st in MSW at FG 2/2/19||FG Allowance on 3/2/19||5-Horse Field / Needs to Shine|
|10||Maximus Mischief||Robert E. Reid, Jr.||Jose Ortiz||3rd in G2 Holy Bull||Undecided||Last Work = Rest For Now|
There wasn’t any major prep races for the Kentucky Derby this past week. No hype beforehand. No strategy to dissect within. No events to unravel afterwards.
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some drama.
There’s always drama on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” right? Always.
And, sure enough — despite the fact that the horses did most of their running in the mornings, getting in their miles and preparation in practice sessions all over the country — there were some developments.
A serious one, in fact.
On Sunday, trainer Robert E. Reid put his 3YO colt Maximus Mischief through his regular workout regiment at Gulfstream Park. The Into Mischief colt, who entered the 2019 calendar year full of hope and run after an undefeated 2YO campaign, which included an impressive win in the G2 Remsen Stakes, looked fine as a fiddle going in. He was certainly out of tune and step coming out.
Maximus Mischief — who was third in the G2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 2 to start the 2019 campaign — worked a half mile in a rather dull :49.02. It was the 11th best work out of 58 to go the distance. But it was not good enough to impress his trainer, Robert E. Reid, Jr. A little later in the morning, Reid announced that he was backing off the colt’s training; was not entering him in the Fountain of Youth; and was going “back to the drawing board.”
In fact, Reid went on to be quoted as saying that his colt seemed to be “…just going through the motions.”
This is a major development. And, to many, a major disappointment.
Another workout this weekend drew attention and raised eyebrows, as well. On Saturday, trainer Chad Brown sent out the Curlin colt Standard Deviation at the Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. The colt went a half-mile in :50.40. That was the 42nd fastest time out of 79 to go the distance. Now, there has not been much comment from the Brown barn or the connections following that morning exercise, and the fact is the colt has worked over this same surface 7 times since Dec. 30. None of the works have been faster than :49 flat. So, what is one to make of Saturday’s work?
That will be a matter of debate, I am sure, for all handicappers to consider. And, I have to admit that trainer Chad Brown has won a few more races than I have. But for my taste? I would like to see a horse working better in the mornings as they head into the major Kentucky Derby prep races in the afternoons. Especially for a horse that has only won a single race in four career races, and that was the maiden race back in August of 2018.
As a result, I think there are openings for others to move up the “Leader Board” and “The Pressbox’s” Rankings. And, the biggest jump this week comes with Bourbon War — a very talented 3YO Tapit colt who gives off all the vibe and indications that he is a horse headed in the absolute opposite direction of the other two that we have mentioned. And, that direction is? Definitely on the rise.
After breaking the maiden in the first career start, trainer Mark Hennig took a shot in the Remsen — against Maximus Mischief, a much-more schooled colt. Bourbon War ran fourth that day, in the second career start, and was beaten about 9 lengths. Not bad. Especially when you consider that he was wide throughout and 5-wide in the upper stretch. But still not great.
Great may be coming, though.
In his first start this year, the colt ripped through, in-between horses to win a nice allowance event at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18. Went from the near rear of the 9-horse field to win by 21/4 lengths, and was pulling away. Since then, Hennig has put the colt through 4 morning drills. On Feb. 22, he went a nice half-mile at Gulfstream Park in :48.68. That was 15th of 43 to go the distance. Three works before, he went the same distance in :48.03. That was 5th best of 42.
He looks to be sitting on go. Hennig may be sitting on gold.
We shall see when Bourbon War tackles the big boys in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
There are a few other major races to watch this weekend, as well:
On March 1, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert will send out Dessman and Roadster in an allowance event at Santa Anita. Mike Smith will get the assignment on Roadster, who will be making his first start since last summer’s runner-up finish to Game Winner in the Del Mar Futurity. Victor Espinoza will get the reins on Dessman, who was second in the G2 San Vicente in his last out. Interesting intra-squad matchup there.
On March 2, Aquadini — a newcomer this week to the “others” list — will run in an allowance at the Fair Grounds. This one is coming off a spectacular maiden win in his career debut and will face four rivals for the barn of Dallas Stewart. This is one that bears watching. Can he take another giant stride forward?
And, then, of course we have the Fountain of Youth. Always a major stepping stone to the Florida Derby and another major prep along the road to the Triple Crown. Can Hidden Scroll match his fan’s enthusiasm? Can Standard Deviation run better? Can Global Campaign and Mihos start to move up the ladder? Will Signalman make his 2019 debut?
Lots of questions. Lots more drama.
This is why we have our own version of “March Madness.”
(Ryan Dickey, Correspondent with “The Pressbox” and horse lover extraordinary)
(Ed DeRosa, the Director of Marketing at Brisnet.com)
“I find myself picking through most of these lists and landing on ‘he’s too slow’ as a default response to many of the horses listed, but that’s starting to be unfair considering we’re less than 10 weeks away from the Kentucky Derby, and any of those horses just has to be faster than the rest. All Derby starters will likely have run their final prep within the next 7 weeks, so here’s hoping we start to see some impressive performances.”
(Scott Shapiro, Ace Handicapper for both Horses and Sports Betting & All Around Great Guy)
“As we head into March I still have Improbable as the clear horse to beat on the first Saturday in May. We will find out more over the coming weeks, but Game Winner’s recent works have not impressed and I think a mile and a quarter is a stretch for War Of Will. Horses like Instagrand and Roadster may have the upside but they have not raced in so long it is hard for me to consider them major players until they do something on the track.”
(Jonathan Lintner, Editor for the HorseRacingNation.com)
“Hidden Scroll cracked the Top 5 of our Kentucky Derby Media Poll released Monday, and here, he’s 17th. I don’t think either party is wrong — and both could actually be overvaluing the flashy debut winner. How often, after all, do horses that earn 104 Beyers on debut run back to that second time? The Fountain of Youth Stakes is most interesting to me simply because of this horse, who could prove himself to be a truly special talent.”